Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hmm... Yeah, all three pretty much



I work with all three, and yes, that's pretty much exactly what I do... Well, 'cept I've got no neckneard, just a VanDyke.... unless I get lazy for a week or two anyway.

Oh and if you get this joke, and don't have "the Brads" in your comic feed, you should.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The more music I listen to in my life

The more I realize, that no-one ever has been, or will be, as good as Thelonious Monk.


There has never been a better piano player certainly; nor a better composer of jazz music.


Why Monk isn't mentioned in the same breath as Mozart, Bach, or Beethoven, I simply do not understand.

The more you can adjust things, the more you can screw them up

Tweaking is for the experienced, for those who don't really need what is being tweaked all that much; or for those who have enough time and money on their hands to fix things (or have a professional fix things) when they inevitably screw them up.

General rule of thumb for almost everything...
The more things there are to adjust on a rig, the more things that:

  1. Can be misadjusted
  2. Can drift out of adjustment
  3. Will go wrong

This can also be expressed as "there more there is to tweak, the more there is to fuck up".
It's not that you don't want adjustability; it's just that the more adjustable something is, the more you're going to need to adjust it... pretty much universally.

It doesn't matter what it is; guns, cars, stereo equipment, cameras, airplanes, motorcycles, bikes... anything mechanical, electrical, or in any way technical; the more there is to adjust, the more there is to screw up.

That's why stuff for amateurs usually offers limited adjustable bits, and limited ranges of adjustment; while stuff for professionals usually makes as much adjustable, with as wide a range of adjustment, as possible.

Professionals have the time, knowledge, and experience to adjust things properly, and monitor their adjustments. Amateurs don't, unless they are expert amateurs at that particular thing.

Admittedly, some expert amateurs are actually better at whatever thing they're expert at, than the professionals. Professionals often don't have the time or energy to explore the outer limits and weird capabilities or fringes of the thing they are working in, focusing mostly on their day to day work.

However, becoming an expert amateur requires even more time, effort, training, education, money, and resources than doing something professionally (and you don't generally get paid for it).

So, if you're not prepared to take the time, money, and effort to become either a professional, or an expert amateur at something, DON'T FUCK WITH IT.

Thank you, that is all.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Educating those outside the gun culture who've been defrauded

As I mentioned the other day, my post "Defending yourself, for those outside the gun culture" was a repost of something I wrote in another forum.

It received several responses, one of which was generally positive, but included these lines:
"I would hesitate to advise one to carry a gun only because many people do not fully understand the reality that if not prepared to use the weapon and possibly kill a human being, one risks having that weapon taken from then and used on them...


I am not up on current statistics but I believe from past classes that the statistics were pretty high on injuries and deaths from ones own weapon."
I wasn't going to do this, because as I said, this can be an emotional issue for many; and because of the huge infodump required.... But I really hate to see it when a fraud is unknowingly perpetuated by someone, who doesn't know any better.

To the point about injuries; actually the reference being made, is to a fraud perpetrated by gun control groups, and then repeated by a media who don't bother to verify facts, so long as the fraud fits their spin on the story.

There are two specific fraudulent claims that were frequently made by gun control advocates, and then endlessly (and mindlessly) repeated by the media, and by defrauded people who don't know better.
"You are 14 times more likely to be injured by a gun in your own home, than if you don't have one"
and
"Thousands of children are killed by guns in the home every year"
Let's talk a bit about those claims.

First of all, neither are remotely close to true, or have any basis in fact. They were essentially entirely made up on the spot by gun control advocates; and have been thoroughly and publicly disproven. Thus, most gun control organizations no longer make specific claims like that, only saying "much more likely", "many times more likely" etc...

However, media reports very frequently reference those two claims even today; as they are very easy to find in a quick google search.

The reality is very much different.

Excluding suicides, injuries or deaths among the general population from their own firearms are very rare; almost always self inflicted, almost always while abusing drugs or alcohol, and in the majority, with firearms that are possessed unlawfully;  which even then constitute a tiny fraction of a percent of all gun owners.

When taking only lawfully possessed firearms, by clean and sober people, the incident rate drops to even tinier fractions of a percent... Essentially so close to zero as to be statistically insignificant, and well within the margin of error of any statistical analysis.

There are perhaps a few hundred incidents a year total; the majority of which are from hunting accidents, the police (yes, the police in this country have a very poor firearms safety record), and from firearms owners who are not properly educated about safety.

Most commonly the incidents with police and with poorly educated gun owners; occur when someone pulls the trigger on a loaded gun either while holstering the gun, or with a gun they thought was unloaded, but didn't properly unload; either before cleaning the gun, or while at a range or shooting spot. Most commonly the individual shoots themself, usually in the foot, hand, or leg. Very rarely, they shoot someone else.

Incidences of criminals using the firearm of someone who was defending themselves with it, by "taking the gun away from them" are almost non-existent; again, so close to zero as to be statistically insignificant and well within the margin of error of any statistical analysis.

In fact, police officers are shot with their own weapons FAR more than the general public.

Of the 200,000 or so sworn active duty law enforcement officers in the U.S (there are about 800,000 working in law enforcement in some capacity, but only about 200,000 are street cops, detectives etc...), about 40-60 are killed by gunfire in the line of duty every year (of 125-175 total annually). Of those, approximately one out of 8 is killed with their own gun.

The FBI and DOJ estimate that at least 60% of the 150,000 or so people shot annually in this country (some years as many as 200,000, some years as few as 125,000), are one criminal shooting another; and at least 95% of shootings occur during the commission of a crime.

Only about 1 in 20 shootings is accidental, or about 7500 a year (some say it is as high as 15,000 in some years); and of those, only about 1500 die (again, some say as many as 4000 in some years).

Oh and, in general, 80% or so of people shot in this country, don't die from it.

Given that there are 300 million people in this country, and about 3 million of them die every year; even including the 95% of shootings that occur during a crime, gunshot wounds don't make the top 25 causes of death. When you take into account just the accidental shootings, they don't make the top 100.

Similarly, incidents of children injuring themselves or others with firearms are incredibly rare; and almost always involve children involved in criminal activity, or parental negligence (usually due to drug or alcohol abuse, and funny enough most often in states with very restrictive gun control).

Kids in "gun friendly" states, generally don't shoot themselves or their friends; because their parents teach them properly about gun safety, and because their parents handle firearms properly.

Gun control groups post hugely inflated numbers, with no basis in fact. When they are forced to fall back to something with statistical validity, they then inflate the numbers further, by counting from birth to age 24 as "children"; when in fact nearly 100% of the incidents they cite occur among young men, age 16 to 24, and nearly 100% of the incidents they cite occur during criminal activity.

Funny enough, more than half of all violent crime is committed by young men, age 16 to 24 (according to the FBI and DOJ about 56%). Most drugs are dealt by young men age 16 to 24. Violent crime is a leading cause of death among young men 16 to 24 etc... etc... etc...

The problem isn't guns, it's young men, mostly those from broken homes, mostly those who come from severely economically and educationally depressed or deprived backgrounds.

Once again, and I'm sorry to be repetitive but it bears repeating; when you exclude young men age 16 to 24, and criminal activity, the incidents of children being injured by firearms falls to a near statistical invisibility.

There are about 60 million children under the age of 16 in this country. Something like 400 a year are shot accidentally by lawfully owned firearms, outside of criminal activity, and less than 1/4 of those die (it's very hard to get exact numbers because every state, and the CDC records things differently, and age and criminal breakdowns are hard to extract). That's a rate of .000006, 6/10,000ths of 1 percent, or 1 in 150,000 being shot, and 1 in 600,000 being killed.

Even if we add back in all the criminals, and the drug use, and the unlawfully owned weapons, and we include all "youths" (meaning from birth to age 24); even the New York times concedes that the number of accidental deaths by firearms is only 300 per year.

Out of the more than 100 million "youths" age 0-24 in this country, about 300 die per year through firearms accidents or negligence. That's a rate of .000003, 3/10,000ths of 1 percent, or one in 333,000.

You can say that "Oh my god thats DOUBLE the rate!!!!" which of course is what gun control advocates and the media do... but you're doubling from "almost zero" to "a little bit more, but still almost zero".

There are at least 300 million guns in this country (there are no reliable statistics, but guns pretty much last forever, and we make or import at least 10 million a year - in 2009 it was 14 million -  so most people guess that number is low); and about 50% of the households in this country have guns (some say as low as 40% some as high as 60%).

About 40% of the population of the country lives in the 11 states where there is both restrictive gun control, and comparatively little private firearms ownership: California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Hawaii, and Michigan (Michigan is an odd one, since almost everyone in rural michigan has guns, and almost no-one in urban michigan does; but the population of Michigan is mostly urban).

Outside those 11 states, it's more like 75% or more of households have guns. In many states, it's pretty damn close to 100%.

Funny enough, in those states where almost everyone owns guns legally, almost no-one gets shot accidentally (or in crime for that matter. All 11 of the states with restrictive gun control have very high rates of violent crime, most of the 39 states that don't -30 or so of the 39-, have pretty low rates of violent crime).

The vast majority of incidents of people injuring themselves, or injuring children, accidentally or negligently with firearms, occur in those 11 states with restrictive gun control, or in the urban islands of the gun friendly states where lawful gun ownership is comparatively rare.

The best way to avoid these accidents though, is not to avoid firearms... frankly, in this country, you can't, and it's futile to try. By doing so, you are simply elevating the gun to an object of mystery, desire, and power (something television and movies do a pretty good job of anyway); and when your child does come across one, they're going to want to play with it.

The best way to avoid a tragedy, is to educate yourself, and your children, about firearms safety.

Even if you don't own guns, you should have a responsible gun owner you know teach your kids; or find a range or call the NRA, and they will let you know when and where a session of the award winning Eddie Eagle gun safety for kids program is being held.


The fact is, although these tragedies do happen, they are vanishingly rare.

The use of firearms to defend ones self, ones family, and ones property, is not rare at all.


There are literally hundreds of thousands of defensive firearms uses in this country every year (the best estimate is between 150,000 and 200,000). The vast majority (between 80% and 90% any given year) do not involve firing a shot, and many don't even involve drawing a weapon. Merely showing a potential offender that you have a firearm and are prepared to use it is often sufficient.

Of course, don't count on it. If you have a gun, you must be prepared to use it... or the bad guy WILL take it away from you and use it on you, and on others.

For sources you can reference http://gunfacts.info/, "More guns, less crime" by John R. Lott, Lott and Mustards various academic works, Gary Klecks various academic works,  "Shooting Blanks" by Alan Gottleib, the CDC, DOJ, and FBI reports on causes of death, and violent crime. Most of these are available either in full or in extract form online.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Defending yourself, for those outside the gun culture

Almost all my readers are "gun people", in that they own guns already, are interested in guns, guns are a hobby and form of recreation for them etc...

However, I'm also a part of several other communities or subcultures if you will, where guns are an uncomfortable subject, or just a mystery.

For example, I teach basic self defense, to women, and to gays, for free. I fully and firmly believe, armed women don't get raped, and armed gays don't get bashed.

I have a lot of friends in what you might call "alternative sexuality" or "alternative lifestyle" communities. These folks often engage in what you might consider fairly risky behavior; in that they meet strangers in private places etc... Basically, a lot of the necessary conventions of these communities, because they require discretion, privacy, secrecy etc... are the exact things the self defense classes and books tell you NOT to do.

I used to have a lot of friends who were escorts, strippers, in porn, or some combination of all of the above (I did security for them. You make friends pretty quickly in those situation). They have all those same risks, only turned up to 11.

I'm involved in gaming, both casual and hardcore, both tabletop and video gaming; and a lot of gamers and geeks just don't know a damn thing about guns or self defense... or worse, what they "know" is dead wrong... meaning it will get them, and others, dead.

We in the gun community or the gun culture if you will, understand that there is a hell of a lot of just plain bad information out there in the non-gun world; and we should, when we can, try to help others to get GOOD information, and to learn how to defend themselves safely, and responsibly.

To that end, I'm going to repost something I wrote on a forum for one of those groups I mention above.


-----------------------


The best way to protect yourself is to avoid being in danger in the first place, absolutely; but when that plan fails, the best way to defend yourself is a weapon.

Less lethal weapons are always an option if you feel you can't carry a gun, or can't kill someone who is trying to hurt you. Stun guns and chemical irritant sprays CAN be useful and effective if used properly.

Though I have seen far too many cases where they were not effective enough, to trust them as a primary means of self defense, any advantage you can give yourself in a life or death situation, is one you should tale. Also, unfortunately, in many places, these may be your only lawful means of self defense.

If you do choose to use a contact stun gun, a taser (they are two very different things by the way, and the difference is important), or a chemical irritant; you NEED to get training in how to use them safely, and effectively; and you ABSOLUTELY must practice with them at least once.

The time to say "huh, that didn't work the way I thought it would" is in training, NOT when someone is about to rape you to death.

Now, lot of folks in this community are not comfortably with firearms, but they carry knives; and they believe they will defend themselves with a knife if the time comes.

Let me tell you right now, you want to think of a knife as your absolute last resort in a defensive situation.

Unless you are an expert martial artist, trained for years in self defense with a knife, you are unlikely to be very effective in doing so; and you are likely to hurt yourself badly if it ever happens.

Even knife experts, and I'm one of them; hurt themselves badly, when defending themselves with a knife... and I'm one of them.

I've been in a couple of knife fights. Trust me on this, you REALLY want to avoid a knife fight under any circumstances. Next time you see me, ask me to show you some of my scars.

The two things most people don't understand are:

1. It's VERY hard to defend yourself with a knife. It's pretty easy to hurt someone pretty badly, but it's very hard to STOP them from attacking you, which is your goal; and it's very easy to hurt yourself in the process. Plus in order to use a knife effectively, you have to be close enough that they can grab you, and really, you should avoid that if there's any way you can.

and

2. You are far more likely to die or be permanently disabled or disfigured by a knife wound, than by a gunshot.

That's counterintuitive, but ER statistics prove it out. You are far more likely to die from a knife wound, because you are likely to lose more blood, have a greater chance of shock, and are more likely to suffer more severe infections, and more secondary infections.

So, while I won't say knives are useless for self defense, or not to grab one if it's your only weapon (any weapon you can use, is better than no weapon at all, if you're defending your life)... don't make it your plan to defend yourself with a knife, and don't carry a knife for self defense, unless it's your only option, or it's a backup to your other self defense methods.

My personal recommendation is, if you are able to deal mentally and emotionally with the concept of killing someone (and you need to be 100% able to deal with it, otherwise you are going to be a bigger danger to yourself and others than a rapist or killer is. If you can't, stick to less lethal weapons) you should carry a firearm.

Nothing stops a rapist so well as a bullet... or five.

Again, I want to stress, you shouldn't carry a gun unless you are entirely comfortable doing so; and have accepted the idea that you may, no matter how much you dont want to, need to use the thing on another human being, and you are safe, mature, stable, and responsible enough to do so.

If you are bi-polar or depressive, and your illness is not well controlled with medication you take religiously, you probably shouldn't have a gun. If you're an addict who is not doing well in recovery, you probably shouldn't have a gun (if you are an addict who is not in recovery at all, it is illegal for you to have a gun). In general, if you're someone who has great difficulties with mental or emotional stability... you probably shouldn't have a gun.

I won't say you definitely shouldn't, because everyone is different, as are everyones individual issues... but in general, unless you are sober, and stable, you shouldn't have a gun.

Also, you shouldn't carry a gun if you are not physically safe and secure (crackhead roommate? No guns til you move, which you should do immediately), responsible and conscientious about your possessions (if you lose your purse every week... don't carry a gun), and you have received training in self defense shooting, and the legal issues surrounding armed self defense in your state.

Note, I'm not saying it should be illegal for you to own or carry a gun without training in firearms safety and the legal aspects of self defense. What I'm saying is that unless it's a life or death emergency, you shouldn't, you're an idiot if you do, and I don't want you carrying a gun around me or mine.

You should also train with your defensive firearm at least once a month; both to ensure that your skills in shooting are adequate and safe for self defense, and to ensure that the firearm is still functioning properly.

Finally, when you decide to own and carry a gun, you accept a burden to behave in a safe and responsible manner.

People who carry guns for lawful self defense, can't allow their anger, or their depression, to get the best of them. They can't get into bar fights. They can't get into domestic disturbances. They can't get drunk or high.

Carrying a gun for lawful self defense means you always need to be the better man or woman in any situation. You need to turn the other cheek, and exercise restraint and caution, even further than those who don't carry.

Now, if I haven't scared you off after all that heavy stuff, here's my offer.

I am an NRA certified firearms instructor; and have additionally been trained in firearms use and instruction by Gunsite Academy, Frontsight Academy, Massad Ayoobs Lethal Force Institute, and several other firearms training facilities. I have acted as a trainer for several law enforcement organizations, security contractors, and for private clients; for almost 15 years.

If anyone in my region, wishes to learn how to shoot a gun for the first time, wants to learn about firearms safety, want's their kids, or family to learn about firearms safety; want's advice about firearms for defending themselves, or wants to get back into shooting; I will give them free instruction, and use of my firearms and safety gear, any time I'm available.

The only thing I ask, is that if you can, you pay for the ammo. If you can't afford it, I've got a fair bit, and I'm glad to share it with you... but ammo isn't free, and these days, it isn't particularly cheap.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just had to share this quote...

From Richard Kadreys "Sandman Slim":

"I hate Glocks. Guys who love Glocks love Corvettes. Not because it was a hot car, but because it was cool forty years ago and they once saw a picture of Steve McQueen in one. Their dad probably had a Vette when he was young, but he was never cool. But if they have a Vette, maybe they can forget the fat man who made them mow the lawn when they should have been out with their friends sneaking into R-rated movies, and who embarrassed them in front of their girlfriends. Maybe their dad was the guy driving fast and locking lips with Faye Dunaway in The Thomas Crown Affair. Maybe their dad was cool after all and maybe that made them cool, too. That’s what Glocks are. High-precision killing machines that scream “Daddy Issues.”

Note: This is coming from the mouth of a character who carries a knife, a collapsible spear/naginata type thingy, THREE single action revolvers, a 1911, and a sawed off shotgun all at the same time.


Ok, I don't hate Glocks at all, never mind for that reason (don't like how they feel in the hand, or their triggers, even when very well massaged), but I think that paragraph is just funny as hell.

Also, given the association with fat men, and corvettes, I think Kadrey is basically saying "Glocks are for douchebags".

Much as the corvette is now permanently tainted with douchebag stench from all the douchebags who bought them (these would be the douchebags who bought vets at 40... they owned Iroc Zs when they were 20...), the Glock is permanently tainted with douchebag stench from all the douchebags who bought them because of rap videos and action movies.

Though... I think there's a much stronger case to be made that the douchebag gun of the last 30 years is the Desert Eagle...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Greatness of America

It's 2am.

I'm sitting here, in my underwear, looking out at the most beautiful snowscape, 50 miles from nowhere.

Eating leftover Sichuan chicken (extra extra hot)...

Drinking ice cold cream soda...

Watching old punk videos, streamed over the net...

This is why we win.

It didnt...




...Except to gay men who care more about how the clothes look, than the women.

An Explanation... for almost everything really...

"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm-but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

-- T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We don't go black... we try to turn on lights

We're not going black today, over SOPA or PIPA.

In case you by some miracle hadn't noticed it yet, tens of thousands of web sites around the country and around the world, are "going black" or putting up banners explaining that they are not available or there is no content today etc... In protest against the "Stop Online Privacy Act" and the "ProtectIP act", which are currently (or were recently), being promulgated in congress.

We don't have a problem with anyone who does. It's important that people understand what SOPA and PIPA are (or were), and most folks are sadly unaware of the kind of stupid and harmful things that our government does.

Google and Wikipedia are two of the most important and most used sites on the net; and by participating in this protest, they will very certainly make a lot more people aware of this issue.

But "going black" isn't what we do here.

We talk about political and social issues here; in particular about liberty and freedom. We try to inform people about the important issues, events, and principles of liberty and freedom; and then talk about them in as free and open a way as we can.

I personally think that going black would be entirely against what we are about here; and while it might help to draw more attention to the problem, it wouldn't help us inform you, or help us begin the conversation about the issue.

... and of course, you can't go to wikipedia today to find out about it...

Note: actually, you can. All other searches are redirected to a "Stop SOPA" page, but you can research SOPA all you like... but it was too smartass not to say.

So, I personally, would like to do something that is in the spirit of protesting the idiotic and harmful nature of these pieces of industry lobbying masquerading as legislation...

...And share a few things:


That's the best explanation of why the freedom to share (within fair use of course, copyrights ARE important) is important; and why legislation like PIPA and SOPA are not only stupid and harmful, but entirely antithetical to the American system of ordered liberty.

And then there's this piece by my friend (and bestselling author, buy his excellent books please) Larry Correia:

"for all of the people out there on the internet having a massive freak out about the government potentially damaging something they love… WELCOME TO THE PARTY.

You think this is something new or unusual? Nope. This is just about a topic that you happen to be familiar with. If you fall into that camp, I want you to take a deep breath, step back, and examine all of the other issues in the past that you didn’t know jack squat about, but your knee jerk reaction was to say “there’s a problem, the governement has to do something!” Well guess what? The crap the federal government usually comes up with to fix these problems is similar to SOPA. In other words, the legislation addresses a perceived problem by instituting a bunch of stupid overregulation and taking away someone’s freedom.

You think people need access to affordable medical care and shouldn’t be denied coverage? Well, you got used and we got the bloated ridiculous mess that is Obamacare. You saw a news report about how big business defrauded people and said congress should do something? Well, everyone in the business world got screwed because of Enron by completely useless new arbitrary crap laws, and a few years later we got into an even bigger financial crisis which the arbitrary crap laws we spent billions conforming to did nothing to prevent. No, because that financial crisis was caused by people saying that there was this huge problem that needed to be fixed, so more people who couldn’t afford to pay mortgages could still buy houses, and the government simply had to do something to fix this problem!

Any crisis… Any problem… You ask the feds to fix it, you get this kind of answer. Almost never do the laws fix the actual problem. Instead the government gets bigger and gains a few more powers and it doesn’t fix the issue. When the problem gets bigger, then the government gets bigger and gains a few more powers that actually make the problem worse. Oh look! Despite all of these laws the problem has gotten even bigger? Whatever should we do? Why, I know! Let’s pass an even bigger law that takes away more individual freedom and gives the government more control!
Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Any topic, any situation, any problem.

They address it, you lose freedom and they gain more control. Some of you are only offended today because this particular law hurts something you enjoy. The rest of the time? Screw it. You can’t be bothered to pay attention. Or worse, people like me who are up in arms over an issue are just cranks or anti-government crackpots."

I was going to write something roughly similar to this, but Larry beat me to it... and I'd rather share what he wrote, because it's good, and because I can.

At least for now...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Missed another milestone

Huh... looks like sometime in November I passed the 2.5 million unique visitors, and 3.5 million page views.

I've kinda stopped paying attention to the numbers.

I'm also coming up on my 7th anniversary as a blogger in about a month.

So... what would you Irish that up with?


Everclear, or 151?

Monday, January 16, 2012

7 years on... "Why I carry and gun", and "Superiority Complex"

Just  about 7 years ago, I wrote a pair of posts, about why I carry a gun, and how I feel about carrying; titled "why I carry a gun" and "Superiority Complex".

I thought this would be a good time to republish those posts. Unfortunately, in the great Haloscan purge of 2010 I lost most of my sites comments before 2009 (Haloscan comments prior to some point in 2009 were unreadable by the import engines of other commenting systems. Thousands of bloggers lost their comments); so you can't read the literally hundreds of comments, both good and idiotic, on these posts.

I'm republishing these now; first because Kevin reminded me of the posts by linking to "superiority complex" in a recent link chain (to a post from 2010 actually); but also because the world has changed a lot since 2005.

I think it would be interesting to see how comments run these days.

So, here we go (note, I updated the dates, fixed typos etc...):
Why I Carry A Gun

My favorite anecdote about Bill Jordan goes a little something like this:
Now Ol' Bill, he was a direct man, and a big one at that, so most of the folks he put away were willing to chalk it up to "just business", and leave it at that.

Well Bill heard this feller was raisin' a stink about comin' round to get some back at him for, but he didn't think too much of it.

A few days later, Bills sittin' out there on his porch, and he's got his trademark combat magnum in his lap. His neighbor walks by and says to bill "See ya got yer pistol there Bill, you 'spectin trouble?", So says Bill "Nope, if I was expeting trouble, I'd have my rifle"
I carry a gun whenever it is legal, and not impolite for me to do so (I respect peoples property rights). When I am entering the home or place of business of someone I don't know, I will inform them I am armed, and ask them if they would prefer I not carry a gun while there.

It's just polite.

A lot of people ask me "Why do you carry a gun, do you expect trouble?"

No, I carry a gun not because I expect trouble, but because I can...
If I was expecting trouble I'd carry a 12ga.

The practice of carrying a weapon is a clear assertion that I am a man. By that I'm not talking about macho bullshit; By saying I am a man, I mean that I am an adult, responsible for my actions, and willing to accept the consequences of them.

When you carry a gun you have in your hands (or on your hip), the ability to end any mans life. This is a massive responsibility, second only to that of raising children.

Many people are uncomfortable with that responsiblity. They believe that they can't be trusted with it, and by extension, neither can anyone else. They fall back on saying "the police" or "the government" should take care of that. Someone with special training, and the blessings of the state should be responsible, but not me, or you, or anyone else.

I can think of no clearer way of saying "I am immature, and not to be trusted".

When I carry a gun, I accept the fact that I may kill someone. I don't ever plan on doing it, I hope it doesn't happen, but it may. I am prepared for this possiblity, and I accept the consequences should it happen.

A few years ago, I broke up with a girlfriend over this. She asked me what I would do to someone if they tried to rape her. I told her flat out that I would kill him. No hesitation there at all. She told me later that from that moment, she was afraid of me.

I asked her what she would do if someone tried to rape her. She said she wouldnt fight. "What if you had a gun, would you shoot the guy to stop it", no she wouldnt do that. "ok what if I was there and I shot him, would that be OK", no of course not. Finally I asked "What if a cop came along, and he shot the guy would that be ok" well of course, he's a cop.

That attitude frankly baffles, and disgusts me, yet there are so many people who hold it. They feel morally superior because they would never "sink to that level".

Personally I would consider that pretty clear evidence of moral bankruptcy.

The same applies to people who would never fight in a war, but are OK with soldiers and cops defending their rights. Oh, they'll protest, and march in the streets, but actually doing anything? No they're all above that and have disdain for everyone else who isn't, calling us savages, and rednecks, and barbarians etc...

I carry a gun because it is my right, and because I am responsible enough to excercise it. I feel nothing but pity or contempt for those who are not.


And the second post:
Superiority Complex 
In my essay "Why I Carry a Gun", I explicitly state some thing that either piss people off, make them uncomfortable, or provoke irrational emotional reactions.

To wit:
When you carry a gun you have in your hands (or on your hip), the ability to end any mans life. This is a massive responsibility, second only to that of raising children.

...

When I carry a gun, I accept the fact that I may kill someone. I don't ever plan on doing it, I hope it doesn't happen, but it may. I am prepared for this possiblity, and I accept the consequences should it happen

...

I carry a gun because it is my right, and because I am responsible enough to excercise it. I feel nothing but pity or contempt for those who are not.

Responses from the left have come in many varieties, most often I get the arguments "Why do you need a gun", "Wouldnt the world be a better place without guns", and "arent you worried you'll shoot someone". Further, many insults are directed my way, calling me immature, accusing me of needing a gun as a phallic replacement, saying that I was clearly psychotic, and asking how I can possibly have such a superior attitude because of something that is so obviously wrong (carrying a gun that is).

The basic thread running through all of this, is that there must be some special jsutification for having, owning, or carrying a gun.

Here's the thing, pro-gun and anti-gun people are arguing from a different set of first principles. There can be no useful debate betwen two people with different first principles, except on those principles themselves.

More in the extended entry...


ProGun people believe that the gun is a useful tool with no inherent motive, and no inherehnt dangers, excepting misuse. Additionally, guns are examples of elegance in mechanical engineering, which many take pleasure in. Finally they are a source of enjoyment through the practice of the skill of marksmanship. But guns are jsut inanimate object; dangerous if muisused, but so are knives, screwdrivers, chainsaws, cars.. well really just about anything. A gun is an inanimate object, just like any other two pound chunk of metal.

Anti-gun people operate from a completely different principle. They believe guns are inherently wrong. They equate guns with assault and murder, and conflate a causal relationship. They believe that if anyone would have a gun, they must have a valid justification for it, and that they (the anti-gun people) must judge the validity of this justification. They believe that the desire to carry a gun is in iteslf a pathology, and therefore no-one who wishes to carry a gun should be trusted to do so.

Personally I think this position is ridiculous. It's an inanimate object. It has not intent. It has no will. It has no magical properties. Picking up a gun does not turn you into Rambo, or Gary Gilmore.

I have asked a girlfriend to pick up a gun and hand it to me from my work bench, and they actually shrunk back from it, as if it would hurt them.

I carry a gun because I can, and because it is a useful tool. I never explicitly stated that a gun is a useful tool in my original essay, because anyone who isn't an idiot, or blinded by their emotional reaction to an inanimate object should be able to see that a gun is useful. I also carry a pocket knife, a flashlight, and a multitool, because I can, and because they are useful tools.

Does carrying a gun make me feel better? More secure? Absolutely. I know that no matter who might try to harm me or those around me, I have an advantage in stopping them. I know that I won't necessarily have to rely on the police, or the people around me to help. I know that by merely having a gun I am more likely to be able to stop an assault from happening because most defensive uses of guns do not involve any shots being fired.

Am I supposed to feel bad because carrying a gun makes me feel better?

Do I take pleasure in the fact that I can kill someone with it? Of course not. I can almost as easily kill someone with my bare hands, or a knife, or even easier with my car.

Only those that impute some mystical power to guns could ever make these arguments without realizing how ridiculous they are.

What I do appreciate, is that carrying a gun is a greater responsibility than not carrying one. I have a greater capacity for harm with less effort, (though no greater responsiblity to not harm), and should act accordingly. THis is no different than a large and strong man appreciating that he must be more careful than a small man in how he moves, to avoid breaking things around him.

Does this somehow make me feel superior to everyone around me? No of course not, but I do feel superior to those who believe they are not responsible enough to carry a gun, because I AM superior to them. I have control of myself, and I do not impute irrational properties to inanimate objects. I dont think that merely posessing an object will make me a killer.

Damn right I'm superior to those who do not have the moral courage to simply own an inanimate object.

Damn right I am superior to those who feel that since they aren't responsible, neither is anyone else.

Damn right I am superior to those who refuse to take responsibility for their own safety.

I am superior to them, because I am not dependent on them, or anyone else, to defend myself; and yes, I feel contempt for those people who do not have the will to do so. It's not about ability, its about will.

Saying you don't have the physical ability to defend yourself is nothing but an excuse, because weapons are the great equalizer. What you really don't have is the will necessary. You are saying that if someone tries to kill you, or rape you, will do nothing to stop them but flail your arms and scream. Worse, you are not only saying it isn't your responsibility to stop them, but that it IS everyone elses responsiblity.

Yes, I have contempt for you, and I pity you, because no matter what age you are, you have wilfully reduced yourself to no more than a helpless child.
Just in case there was any confusion, I feel exactly the same way I did seven years ago.

I have no problem with you if you don't want to carry a gun. Lots of people don't want to, for any number of reasons.

But if you believe that you are not responsible enough to carry a gun, what you are saying to me is "I am irresponsible, and cannot be trusted".

If you can't be trusted with a gun, you can't be trusted with a car, or a knife, or gasoline, or household cleaners... You certainly can't be trusted around my kids.

You are saying that the only thing preventing you from doing wrong, is that you don't have the tools to do so; and I don't want you around me.

All that said, you and I don't have a problem with each other. You live your way and I'll live mine... just stay away from me, and my kids.

If you think that because you are not responsible enough, no-one is; you are simply dead wrong. You may not be responsible enough, but plenty of us are.

Perhaps you can learn for yourself that you are wrong.

Talk to a responsible gun owner. Go out shooting with them. It's fun, and maybe you'll learn something. Guns aren't magic, they're just inanimate objects. Two pounds of metal, with no will, and no intent. They're tools; and just like any other tools, they can be used or misused.

If, after learning a little bit about guns and safety, and gun ownership, you still decide that you are not personally responsible enough... I respect your decision, and your self awareness; but you should understand that just because you are not mature or responsible enough for gun ownership, doesn't mean I am not.

If you believe that YOU personally are responsible enough, and police and the military are responsible enough, but the rest of the law abiding citizens of this country are not...

...Well then there's no help for you.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Haven't really been able to write for over a week now

Yeah, I wrote a post on Tuesday, but it was one of those "I'm still alive, and really frustrated" things...

I'm on the horns of a dilemma...

There's a couple of things I really want to write, but also don't want to write... and they're not letting anything else come out until I finally figure out what I'm going to write... or decide not to write at all.

The first thing is about California and politics. The second is about the upcoming election, and our "choice" of candidates.

Those are fairly predictable topics for this moment. What I'm going to write isn't going to be predictable, and will probably piss people off...

On the other hand, I'm not sure I even want to get into it.

I'm so worn out on politics right now... hell, I have been since what, 2008?

When was it that I wrote about being tired of making the same arguments over and over again, and already having said it all?

The other thing though...

The other thing is what's really freezing me up.

My brother died a year ago this last Monday...

Sunday, January 9th, 2011, my not quite 32 old brother died; of a combination of a severely weakened immune system due to cancer, an untreated septic infection, and the effects of both prescription and illicit drugs.

I really don't know what to write about that.

I really don't know HOW to write about that.

I NEED to say something, and I can't; and I can't seem to say anything else until I do.

... and I... just... can't.

Not now.

Maybe later.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Finally recovered (mostly)

I've been sick since the week before Christmas. Upper respiratory infection and sinus. It's had me flat on my ass most of that time.

About half way through, I decided I was better, and resumed a few days of regular activity; which, of course, made me even sicker.

I'm FINALLY, mostly, recovered.

In the meantime, I missed a review appointment with the Idaho department of Labor, which caused me to miss a week of unemployment. Yay. Got that sorted out yesterday; and because I couldn't get it sorted til yesterday I actually miss two weeks (a little under $700). Not good.

No, they don't pay back benefits either (some states do), they just tack the extra two weeks onto the end of my eligibility.

Yay.

Oh and the IDOL are actually great, and this wasn't their fault in any way.

Because I was sick, I missed the notice that they sent me saying I needed to go to the review (apparently they sent it the wednesday or thursday before christmas. I was already sick when it got in the Monday after christmas, and didn't notice it). I got the second notice, saying my unemployment was suspended, last Friday, after close of business. It was automatic based on my not showing up, or responding to their initial notice.

First thing Monday I called them up and we were able to do the review over the phone; it was only because of the holidays messing with mail delivery timelines etc... that things got so screwed up. They were extremely helpful, courteous and professional; and they view their job as helping me return to gainful employment, not to try to catch me cheating.

Meanwhile, theres a $700 hole in my already limited budget for the month.

Again, yay.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

It's 51 frikken degrees out...

In January.

In North Frikken Idaho.

And it's GOING to be 57 before the day is done.

IN JANUARY IN NORTH IDAHO...

What the hell?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

So, you know what happens...

When you're sick, and you feel a lot better, so for a couple days you resume your normal activities... only you weren't actually better?

Of course you do, because, like me, most of my readers do the same thing.

You get a HELL of a lot sicker than you were before.

That's what I've been for the last week. A hell of a lot sicker than I was the week before last.

Still am actually, probably will be for another few days.

Blargh.